Run Around Rainier - Page 2
Mount Rainier at sunrise on Burt's run.
During her adventure, Burt, the race director of the Bellingham Trail Running Series (BTRS, www.Bellinghamtrail.com), Bellingham Trail Marathon (www.Bellinghamtrailmarathon.com) and Cle Elum 25K/50K (www.Cleelum50k.com), however, was slowed by several scary wildlife encounters, hallucinations and route-finding difficulties, and completed the trail in 31 hours 11 minutes 57 seconds, setting the women’s unsupported mark for the Wonderland.
“Knowing Candice and other runners that have gone beyond the boundaries of normal civilization has allowed me to sign up for events that common sense would have prevented,” says Chad Calhoun, 40, of Bellingham, a local ultrarunner. “The great thing is that nobody yet knows the limit to Candice's energy. Her BTRS has been a boost for the community, bringing fellow trail runners from Canada, Seattle and beyond.”
What is your athletic and running background?
I grew up on a small farm on Whidbey Island. As a kid, I was very active, playing outside, climbing trees and riding horses. I got into running in high school when I joined the cross-country and track teams.
But I fell in love with running when I began running on trails in the mountains. Before trail running, I ran for the exercise. Now I run for the solace, the connection with nature and to feel my body move.
How did you get interested in the Wonderland Trail?
I needed an epic run after DNFing at Plain 100 [in the Cascade Mountains]. I had had a great race at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in July, placing 2nd woman and 7th overall, and thought I could jump right back into training for Plain [September 8], but my body needed a break. I went into the race over trained and called it quits after 62 miles.
That inspired me to pick a route that would be tougher and more scenic than Plain. The Wonderland Trail has been getting a lot of attention from people going for FKTs, and I noticed that there wasn't a women's FKT. That seemed silly, and I knew then that I would go for it.
How did you prepare for the run?
The Plain 100 is a mostly self-supported run with just one aid station at mile 62. I had trained for that race by running with a heavy pack throughout August, so I was ready for the challenges of running the Wonderland Trail.
Why did you decide to do it alone?
It's not that easy to find someone to run 93 miles with you on three days’ notice! Besides that, running solo was the simplest way for me to do the route on short notice.
Had you been on the trail before?
No, and that definitely presented me with the unique dual challenge of navigating and trying to run fast. I got lost several times. Of particular note was when I couldn't find the trail at night on the glacier section. I wandered around for 30 to 45 minutes following footsteps that kept leading nowhere. I eventually found the trail, but at night it was very difficult to know where to go.
Tell us about your wildlife encounters?
I had a pretty frightening encounter with what I thought was a giant mountain lion around midnight. It was dark and the glowing eyes looked huge! But when the animal moved I realized it was too large to be a mountain lion. It was a bear. I backed slowly away and up a hill and grabbed the biggest stick I could find to make myself look taller and more intimidating. The bear didn't seem to care either way.